Macbeth as a Tragic Hero in William Shakespeare's Play

Good Essays
Macbeth as a Tragic Hero in William Shakespeare's Play The first time we hear about Macbeth he is presented as a hero -

'brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name.' Before meeting the

character we are told what other people think of him. This builds

expectations. The audience would expect Macbeth to be the brave,

heroic type, and would want to meet him.

However, when we do meet Macbeth this original opinion begins to

falter. The very first line he says is 'So foul and fair a day I have

not seen.' This instantly connects him to the witches as the line is

very similar to the witches 'fair is foul and foul is fair' chant at

the end of scene 1. As people in the time of James I saw witchcraft as

an undoubtedly evil thing, it would also taint his heroic status,

which he received from the words of Malcolm in scene 2. This would

create interest as the audience could want to see if this supernatural

connection developed.

The witches words influence him greatly, it is clear he is intrigued -

'Stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more.' This shows the ambitious

nature of his personality and also leaves the audience wondering

whether or not he will achieve the goals set by the witches.

Shakespeare has given Macbeth a very complicated personality. For

example, he isn't pure evil. Although his ambitious nature makes him

yearn for kingship -'Stars, hide your fires. Let not light see my

black and deep desires,' he doesn't automatically agree to Lady


... middle of paper ...


Scotland it shows how strongly Shakespeare shaped his play to the

King's interests.

The limitations of theatre are also apparent as Shakespeare relies on

language instead of props to get images across to the audience. For

example, the description of the battle -'they meant to bathe in

reeking wounds, or memorise another Golgotha.' This line portrays a

clear image of the battle without the use of any special effects, and

also relates to the audiences religious bearings (the reference to


I find the opening act of Macbeth very successful as Shakespeare

creates interest while managing to introduce the main themes. It

involves the audience and prepares us for the rest of the play by

giving us an insight into what will happen, but still leaves us

wondering, shrouding the future occurrences in mystery.
Get Access